Ombudsmen System & Vigil Mechanism Committee
The Volkswagen Group follows a stringent ethical system worldwide in order to create a secure environment where matters concerning corruption, fraud, violation of policies and conflict of interest can be appropriately addressed. Corruption / fraud can harm the Volkswagen Group and its employees. The Volkswagen Group has therefore set up an Investigation Office to maintain the core ethics of the Group.
In order to facilitate a platform to come forward and report genuine concerns and fight corruption, two highly respected lawyers act as independent Ombudsmen for the entire Volkswagen Group and can be contacted for reporting any information / concerns pertaining to Corruption related topics within the Group. All the information provided to the Ombudsmen is treated in the strictest confidence and the identity of anyone disclosing the information is also kept strictly anonymous.
What kind of information can be reported through the Ombudsman System & Vigil Mechanism Committee?
One can confidentially report any information on acts of economic crime, corruption or any other serious non-compliance in terms of code of conduct or compliance policies (hereinafter referred to as ‘information’) of the Volkswagen Group or one of its brands.
Can customer complaints or complaints/correspondence/information on Sales, Aftersales or service related queries also be reported to the Ombudsman System & Vigil Mechanism Committee?
Please note that instances of customer complaints are not to be reported in this system as another mechanism for this already exists. For any Sales or Aftersales service related queries, please email at email@example.com or refer to this link. Any communications on the abovementioned topics shall not be acknowledged, attended or replied by the Ombudsman or Vigil Mechanism Committee.
How can the whistle-blower contact the Ombudsmen?
There are various ways for the whistle-blower to contact the ombudsmen. They can be contacted either by telephone or fax or email or letter. Furthermore, it is also possible to set up confidential one-on-one meetings.
The contact details of the Ombudsmen are as follows:
Dr. Rainer Buchert
Phone: +49-69-710 33 330 or +49-6105-92 13 55
Fax: +49-69-710 34 444
Phone: +49-69-65 30 03 56
Fax: +49-69-65 00 95 23
Link to Online Platform: www.ombudsmen-of-volkswagen.com
In addition to the above, the Compliance Officer of Volkswagen Group Singapore is responsible to look into and address all concerns pertaining to corruption and fraud related topics in Singapore, including those reported by any employee.
The contact details of the Compliance Officer are as follows:-
Mr. Terence Tan
Phone: +65 6305 7100
All information provided to the above personnel shall be treated as strictly confidential.
Employees may note that the above policy provides for adequate safeguards against victimisation of Employees who avail of the vigil mechanism. However, false and frivolous complaints will entail firm disciplinary action against the concerned persons.
How does the information exchange with the Ombudsman work?
After receiving the information, the Ombudsmen will record every indication of corruption, white collar crime, etc. Ombudsmen will transfer the confidential information / evidence to the Investigation Office after examination only if explicitly authorised by the whistle-blower. If requested, the whistle-blower's identity will be kept anonymous. If members of executive bodies or the Head of Group Internal Audit are alleged, the ombudsmen will forward the indication to the Chairman of the Audit Committee of the Volkswagen AG, Supervisory Board. As a lawyer, the Ombudsmen are bound by client confidentiality and identity of the whistle-blower is reliably protected and not disclosed to Volkswagen or to third parties.
What happens to the information that has been passed on?
The Investigation Office assumes responsibility for the necessary investigation involving Group Internal Audit or Group Security. If internal investigations confirm the allegations then the relevant personnel are appropriately punished and may lead to severe consequences, including dismissal.
Will the whistle-blower be given feedback on further procedure of the investigation?
Wherever legally tenable, the ombudsmen are informed of the internal investigator's findings and can forward this information to the whistle-blower. In this way, everyone is kept informed.
What happens if the whistle-blower / informant are personally involved in the corruption?
If the whistle-blower / informant are personally involved in the corruption, the Ombudsmen can advise him and help break the vicious circle. By speaking, assisting during the investigation, the whistle-blower / informant will generally be handled more leniently by the legal system.
Is there any other additional communication channel for reporting such information?
Yes, there is Business Platform Monitoring System which is a secured electronic platform for submitting confidential information. The system makes it possible to structurally and anonymously process information entered by the public and employees of a company. Whistle-blower can set up a mailbox within the application for written communication and the exchange of documents with the ombudsmen.